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  • Apr 2, 2020
    This article was first published in Deccan Herald. The shift to working from home would have happened in an organic manner, but the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the speed of change; important to think about the precautions we must take to make this on-going experiment successful The coronavirus pandemic has become the reason for the […]
  • Mar 31, 2020
    Indian economy will suffer due to COVID-19, but govt can ease the pain for individuals and firms with decisive and meaningful action now For businesses, the union government should think of delaying GST payments, tax credits, and any other policy that could support employers to keep their staff on board.  As on March 24, the […]
  • Mar 31, 2020
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    The World Health Organisation (WHO), founded to reduce health risks for all, is facing international criticism for its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak. WHO’s Director-General (DG), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has been accused of forwarding China’s interest rather than ensuring the containment of the virus through awareness procedures. WHO’s assessment, finally characterised COVID-19 as a pandemic on 11 March […]
  • Mar 31, 2020
    I. The Big Story: PLA & the Clinical Trials: Fact-Checking The past several issues of your newsletter have focused on the PLA’s fight with the novel coronavirus. It’s tempting to write on that again, but let’s take a break this time and focus on other activities involving the PLA in and around the East Asian Region. […]
  • Mar 29, 2020
    Anticipating the Unintended is really a public policy thought-letter. While excellent newsletters on specific themes within public policy already exist, this thought-letter is about frameworks, mental models, and key ideas that will hopefully help you think about any public policy problem in imaginative ways. It seeks to answer just one question: how do I think about a […]
  • Mar 28, 2020
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    By Sarthak Pradhan, Sakshi Arora, and Pranay Kotasthane Download the full Strategic Assessment in PDF Executive Summary As of March 27th, Pakistan had the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the subcontinent. This outbreak is likely to slow down Pakistan’s economy and increase its dependence on China in the short-term. Domestically, this has the potential […]
  • Mar 28, 2020
    Eye on China is a weekly bulletin offering news and analysis related to the Middle Kingdom from an Indian interests perspective. I. Recovery & Restrictions There are many strands of the Covid-19 story within China, so I am going to just focus on some of the key areas. First, officially, the trend of new cases in […]
  • Mar 27, 2020
    This article originally appeared in Deccan Herald On March 24, several WhatsApp groups catering to apartment associations started buzzing with excel files containing addresses of those who were placed under home quarantine. The source was a website run by the Government of Karnataka which contained details for all districts in Karnataka (deleted ‘purportedly’). This author […]
  • Mar 25, 2020
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    A number of states have leveraged technology solutions to combat the Covid-19 outbreak. What have they done? What can India learn from their experiences? And what are the long-term implications of these tech interventions? Prateek Waghre, Rohan Seth and Manoj Kewalramani discuss all this and more.
  • Mar 24, 2020
    The events of the past few weeks have served as a grave reminder of the challenges of living in a globalised world. The benefits of globalisation and its impact on human progress can never be understated. However, every once in a while, through global financial crises or through pandemics such as the one we are […]
  • Mar 24, 2020
    The infodemic and the behavioural contagion feed off each other, and higher levels of social anxiety exacerbate the process. Similarly, the psychological and economic contagions reinforce each other, and are in turn amplified by informational, behavioural and viral contagions. The complex interactions among five contagions make it much harder to contain the spread of the […]
  • Mar 24, 2020
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    We are probably still in the early days of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. What human and financial toll will it take? And what sort of a world will we inherit when this pandemic is over? Manoj Kewalramani and Aditya Ramanathan take a sobering (and occasionally optimistic) look at some possible scenarios. Follow Aditya Ramanathan on […]
  • Mar 24, 2020
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    With the pandemic existing at this scale, state capacity alone may not be enough to respond effectively. Struggling in the face of an invisible threat, states have to co-opt technology to augment their arsenal for a long haul fight against coronavirus. The unprecedented spread of the COVID-19 outbreak is overwhelming healthcare systems across the world. […]
  • Mar 24, 2020
    With the United States Congress taking aim at Google’s Search in anti-trust hearings, anti-trust is in the spotlight again. It is still unclear whether tech platforms privileging their products is enough to build and win an anti-trust case against big tech. We will find the answer to that question in the times to come. Until […]
  • Mar 24, 2020
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    The pandemic, like any other economic event, will throw up its own set of winners and losers; best if the debate around the economic impact of coronavirus builds a measure of nuance The global conversation about the coronavirus pandemic has focussed around a few things. Firstly, that the outbreak of the virus can largely be […]
  • Mar 23, 2020
     Could we be experiencing the last global pandemic? Will revolutions in computing and synthetic biology transform the way we deal with contagious diseases? In this episode, Takshashila’s founders, Nitin Pai and Narayan Ramachandran discuss the prospects for containing future outbreaks and the surprising obstacles that could come in our way. Nitin’s Mint article: https://www.livemint.com/opinion/columns/why-the-current-pandemic-may-perhaps-be-the-world-s-last-one-11584281852511.html
  • Mar 22, 2020
    The Big Story: PLA: Xi’s Comrade against the Virus Xi Jinping ordered the Chinese military to join the race for developing the world’s first vaccine for Covid-19. Major General Chen Wei, a top medical virologist with the Academy of Military Science, was authorised to start clinical trials last week. The Chinese scientists are working on the nine possible treatments, and […]
  • Mar 22, 2020
    The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic this week. That designation implies an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, affecting a large number of people. The Chinese government initially tried to conceal the severity of the problem by hiding facts about the outbreak, which in turn contributed to the spread of the […]
  • Mar 21, 2020
    Eye on China is a weekly bulletin offering news and analysis related to the Middle Kingdom from an Indian interests perspective. I. Tricky Recovery & Narrative Contest Once again, there are multiple strands to the Covid-19 outbreak story from China. There’s official reports of no new domestic cases; steps at reviving the economy; international outreach and […]
  • Mar 21, 2020
    Three events last week underscore how the narrative has shifted around China’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak. The first of these is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Wuhan, which coincided with the country’s health authorities confirming that the outbreak had peaked there. Second, the World Health Organisation’s declaration of Covid-19 as a pandemic for which […]
  • Mar 20, 2020
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    As Covid-19 cases spread around the world, China says it has ‘turned the tide’ to contain the outbreak. Anirudh Kanisetti and Manoj Kewalramani discuss how Chinese officials and media are now seeking to shift focus from China’s early failures to showcase the country as a responsible global power.
  • Mar 19, 2020
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    By Shambhavi Naik and Pavan Srinath Download the Discussion Document in PDF. Heritable genetic diseases, particularly rare diseases, contribute to a significant disease burden in India. In India’s urban areas, congenital malformations and genetic disorders are the third most common cause of mortality in newborns. Rare diseases by themselves are expected to afflict 70-96 million […]
  • Mar 19, 2020
    By Gayathri Rajesh The UN defines sustainable development as the development that takes place through justified use of the earth’s current resources in a way that it “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Yet only certain countries seem to be practising a model […]
  • Mar 19, 2020
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    President Vladimir Putin is consolidating his power both internally and along Russia’s peripheries. Is there a method that underlies Moscow’s behaviour? Anirudh Kanisetti and Aditya Ramanathan dive into the world of Russian ideologue Alexander Dugin and look at what it might tell us about Russian politics and strategy. Why didn’t Vijayanagara have a Navy?: https://soundcloud.com/takshashila-institution/why-didnt-vijayanagara-have-a-navy
  • Mar 18, 2020
    India is one of the most oil-dependent countries in the world. But what can it do when hydrocarbon supplies are disrupted? Anupam Manur and Narayan Ramachandran talk about their new research into how India can build its Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR), and prepare for the worst. An Indian Approach Towards Strategic Petroleum Reserves: https://takshashila.org.in/takshashila-discussion-document-an-indian-approach-towards-strategic-petroleum-reserves/ You […]
  • Mar 17, 2020
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    By Anupam Manur, Rohan Seth, and Narayan Ramachandran Download the Discussion Document in PDF Energy security is a strategic imperative for India, given its strong growth aspirations. As the country does not have self-sustaining oil production, it is almost entirely dependent on imports for its energy requirements. In such a scenario, having an insurance policy, […]
  • Mar 17, 2020
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    The military reforms initiated by President Xi Jinping have brought sweeping changes to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). But are these measures making China more secure? In this episode, Manoj Kewalramani and Suyash Desai discuss their new research on Chinese military modernization. Research SlideDoc: https://takshashila.org.in/takshashila-slidedoc-securing-china-an-assessment-of-xis-military-reforms/
  • Mar 17, 2020
    The manner in which the Chinese government managed the COVID-19 outbreak is being favourably compared to the general mess that Europe and the United States have made of it so far. Now that China seems to have contained the initial outbreak while Western countries are struggling with a massive surge in cases, Beijing’s propagandists and apologists have […]
  • Mar 17, 2020
    The enigmatic materials known as rare earths allow the manufacture of some of the most economically and strategically valuable materials of the 21st century. In this brief essay, I aim to understand what they are, why they behave the way they do, how their deposit locations are influenced by these properties, and anticipate some areas […]
  • Mar 16, 2020
    Anticipating the Unintended is really a public policy thought-letter. While excellent newsletters on specific themes within public policy already exist, this thought-letter is about frameworks, mental models, and key ideas that will hopefully help you think about any public policy problem in imaginative ways. It seeks to answer just one question: how do I think about a […]
  • Mar 16, 2020
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    The Yes Bank crisis has spurned the government to send State Bank of India (SBI) to its rescue. This has led to a further consolidation of public sector banks in India. Why are some banks struggling? In this episode, Pranay Kotasthane sits down with Anupam Manur to understand the roots of the current crisis, its […]
  • Mar 15, 2020
    Viruses can be deadly, but are pretty simple things. They are composed of a few proteins and a small amount of genetic material, and can be completely characterized fairly easily. Back in 2003, it took a few months for scientists to fully sequence the 29,727 nucleotides of the SARS virus genome. In comparison, it took […]
  • Mar 13, 2020
    Eye on China is a weekly bulletin offering news and analysis related to the Middle Kingdom from an Indian interests perspective. I. ‘Turning the Tide’ There are four broad trends associated with the Covid19 outbreak in China this week. First, China’s National Health Commission announced that the country recorded 8 new coronavirus cases and 7 deaths on […]
  • Mar 13, 2020
    From the COVID-19 outbreak to the Yes Bank crisis, the Indian and the world economy are being buffeted by relentless waves of crises. Anupam Manur talks to Takshashila’s founders, the two Ns: Narayan Ramachandran and Nitin Pai, to take stock of the tumult and assess the prospects for the future. You can follow Nitin on […]
  • Mar 13, 2020
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    Business, as usual, is no longer an option. India must tackle the rising defence pension bill. Lt Gen Prakash Menon and Pranay Kotasthane bust five myths of the defence pensions debate. Read the full article on ThePrint here.
  • Mar 12, 2020
    On March 4, in a historic day for the cryptocurrency industry in India, the Supreme Court of India quashed the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) prohibition on the trade of virtual currency (VC). The road towards the day of the verdict has been long and arduous. Even this verdict is a small win and how the cryptocurrency industry […]
  • Mar 12, 2020
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    Is the global Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic? What must India do to contain its fallout? Nitin Pai and Shambhavi Naik join Aditya Ramanathan to discuss this unprecedented health crisis and what we can expect next. You can follow our host Shambhavi on twitter: @TheNaikMic (https://twitter.com/TheNaikMic) You can follow our host Aditya on twitter: @adityascripts (https://twitter.com/adityascripts)
  • Mar 11, 2020
    Covid-19 has taken the world by storm. With Covid-19 being classified as a pandemic, recent predictions claim that within the coming year, 40-70% of people around the world will be affected with Covid-19 (including mild disease or an asymptomatic form). In a sense, China being the epicenter of the outbreak has reluctantly taken the world […]
  • Mar 11, 2020
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    VP Menon rose from nothing to become a critical figure in both the transfer of power from the British and the integration of India’s states. In this episode, historian Narayani Basu joins Anirudh Kanisetti, Sowmya Nandan and Aditya Ramanathan to talk about Menon’s extraordinary life and his role in shaping modern India. Follow our host […]
  • Mar 10, 2020
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    In the murky depths below Asia’s oceans, competition is brewing between major powers as they seek to protect and expand their fleets of ballistic missile submarines. What’s driving this competition? And what role does geography play? Aditya Ramanathan, Anirudh Kanisetti and Pranav R.S. discuss China’s nuclear submarines, their utility and India’s response.
  • Mar 10, 2020
    It is important to say this because thus far, the task of addressing the COVID-19 has been delegated exclusively to the government. Almost all activities, from airlifting Indian nationals, screening arrivals at airports, testing samples, quarantining and treatment are carried out by the government. While this will be effective if the number of cases remains […]
  • Mar 9, 2020
    I. The Big Story: PLA Members in the Philippines? On March 4, 2020, a Filipino Senator Panfilo Lacson expressed concerns about the growing number of Chinese military personnel in the Philippines. He said that a good number of 2000 to 3000 PLA personnel are in the country. However, the information, which he claims to have shared with Senator Richard Gordon, […]
  • Mar 9, 2020
    Given the budget constraints, the Indian Navy’s approach should change from sea control to sea denial India’s Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat announced last month that India will prioritize submarines over its third aircraft carrier. The importance of this announcement was lost amid the clutter surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to India. “When we […]
  • Mar 9, 2020
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    Download the Discussion Slidedoc in PDF Executive Summary China’s President Xi Jinping announced landmark military reforms in late 2015. The reforms aim to convert the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into a world-class force by 2050, that can achieve China’s national security objectives. This document identifies seven broad areas of the PLA reforms and assesses their […]
  • Mar 9, 2020
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    From Wuhan to Chennai, both China and India have reiterated that they must not let differences turn into disputes. But strategic competition in the Indian Ocean Region appears unavoidable, given China expanding presence. Manoj Kewalramani and Suyash Desai discuss all this and more in this special episode with journalist and author Bertil Lintner. Follow Manoj […]
  • Mar 6, 2020
    ಈಗಿರುವ ಆರ್ಥಿಕ ಸ್ಥಿತಿಯನ್ನು ಉಪೇಕ್ಷಿಸಿ ಬಜೆಟ್ ವಿಶ್ಲೇಷಣೆ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿಲ್ಲ. ಖಾಸಗಿ ಕಾರ್ಪೊರೇಟ್ ಹೂಡಿಕೆಯು ಉದ್ಯೋಗಸೃಷ್ಟಿ ಮತ್ತು ಜಿಡಿಪಿ ಬೆಳವಣಿಗೆಯ ದೊಡ್ಡ ಮೂಲವಾಗಿದ್ದರೂ, ಆ ವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಹೂಡಿಕೆಯ ವಿಶ್ವಾಸ ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸುವಲ್ಲಿ ಸರ್ಕಾರಗಳಿಗೆ ಕಳೆದ ಒಂದು ದಶಕದಿಂದಲೂ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗಿಲ್ಲ. ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಬೆಳವಣಿಗೆಯ ನಾಲ್ಕು ಚಾಲಕಶಕ್ತಿಗಳ ವಿಚಾರದಲ್ಲಿ ಬಜೆಟ್ ಏನು ಮಾಡಿದೆ ಎಂಬುದನ್ನು ನೋಡೋಣ. Read the full article on Prajavani here.
  • Mar 6, 2020
    Analysis of Budget’s performance vis-à-vis the 4 drivers of growth in Karnataka shows more misses than hits; among positives, right noises on Bengaluru’s economic development. Read more at https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/karnataka-budget-could-have-done-more-to-spur-growth-810873.html
  • Mar 6, 2020
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    The humble potato emerged from the mountains of Peru to become a staple food around the world. Today, the potato suffers from inbreeding or ‘depression’ that’s reducing its nutrition and productivity. What can be done? Shambhavi Naik joins Aditya Ramanathan, Anirudh Kanisetti to discuss the surprising past of the potato and why GM technology is […]
  • Mar 6, 2020
    Cabinet approves Select Committee’s recommendations on the Surrogacy Bill  The Union Cabinet has approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020 which incorporates all recommendations made by a Rajya Sabha select committee. There were major concerns over the original draft of the Surrogacy Bill which mandated only close relatives could be used as a surrogate, in a bid […]
  • Mar 5, 2020
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    India continues to have too few women at work even in white-collar jobs. What can be done to increase their numbers? Anupam Manur asks Sowmya Nandan and Shambhavi Naik why women in India find it difficult to pursue careers and how workplaces can be made more inclusive. Follow Shambhavi on twitter: @TheNaikMic (https://twitter.com/TheNaikMic) Follow Anupam on twitter: @anupammanur (https://twitter.com/anupammanur) […]
  • Mar 4, 2020
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    The decision by the streaming service Hotstar to withhold the show Last Week Tonight has stirred controversy. In this episode, Manoj Kewalramani, Prateek Waghre and Utkarsh Narain discuss the repercussions of Hotstar’s decision and the rationale behind self-censorship by media platforms.
  • Mar 4, 2020
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    This article was first published in the Deccan Herald. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently announced through an Instagram post that he would donate $ 10 Billion from his personal wealth to the newly created Bezos Earth Fund to fight climate change. The global initiative will fund scientists, activists and NGOs according to the social media […]
  • Mar 3, 2020
    One way forward is to move away from prohibiting possession to discouraging their use. At Takshashila, we have advocated a Global No First Use (GNFU) treaty that can help reduce the risk of an accidental nuclear war. This will create the foundation for nuclear weapons states to lower nuclear alertness levels, reduce the sizes of the […]
  • Mar 3, 2020
    The Indian military depends heavily on satellites for communication and coordination as well as for surveillance missions and monitoring activities around its borders. So as a result of satellites’ centrality to India’s security, an adversary may find it useful to either disable or destroy them during a crisis or conflict. To avoid severe disruption as […]
  • Mar 3, 2020
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    America’s deal with the Taliban is being celebrated by some as a step towards peace. Are they right? Anand Arni and Pranay Kotasthane join Aditya Ramanathan to dissect the deal and highlight the many perils it is likely to bring to Indians and Afghans. Follow Anand Arni on twitter: @anand_arni Follow Pranay on Twitter: @pranaykotas Follow Aditya […]
  • Mar 2, 2020
    अमेरिका और तालिबान के बीच शनिवार, 29 फरवरी, को कतर में शांति समझौते पर हस्ताक्षर हुए। इसके मुताबिक, अमेरिका 14 महीने में अफगानिस्तान से अपने सैनिक हटाएगा। इससे हो सकता है कि अमेरिका का सबसे लम्बा युद्ध शायद ख़त्म हो जाए. इस वक़्त अफ़ग़निस्तान में अमेरिका, जर्मनी और ब्रिटेन समेत 38 देशों की सेनाएं हैं. […]
  • Mar 2, 2020
    Donald Trump concluded his 36-hour India tour on Tuesday evening. This was his first visit to India since being elected the 45th president of the United States in November 2016. His tour to India was much anticipated by both the countries, which have a common strategic objective of balancing China’s rise. This objective was reflected […]
  • Mar 2, 2020
    I. The Big Story: China’s Military Power Projection: Testimonies The US-China Economic and Security Commission (USCERSC) conducted a hearing on China’s military power projection. The hearing examines China’s abilities and growing capabilities beyond its shores. President Xi Jinping in December 2015 initiated China’s military reforms to transform the PLA into a world-class army. Four years since […]
  • Mar 2, 2020
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    With the U.S. looking for a quick exit from Afghanistan, should India consider putting boots on the ground? Pranay Kotasthane is joined by Manoj Kewalramani and Aditya Ramanathan as he makes the case for India to provide specific kinds of support to Afghanistan’s armed forces and police. Follow Pranay on Twitter: @pranaykotas Follow Manoj Kewalramani on […]
  • Mar 1, 2020
    The butterfly effect occurs when a trivial cause, such as a butterfly fluttering its wings somewhere in an Amazon rainforest, triggers a series of events that end up having a massive impact elsewhere—a tornado ravaging the state of Texas in the US, for example. Edward Lorenz, the American meteorologist who coined the phrase in the […]
  • Feb 29, 2020
    Eye on China is a weekly bulletin offering news and analysis related to the Middle Kingdom from an Indian interests perspective. I. Battling the Virus On Saturday, Chinese health officials reported a total death toll of 2,835, with the number of confirmed cases at 79,251. There were 427 new cases reported in China on Saturday according to […]
  • Feb 27, 2020
    This article was originally published in ThePrint. Censorship in response to moral panic and outrage was the norm, but now in India, we’re even cutting out the middlemen. When riots were taking place in northeast Delhi and US President Donald Trump was set to land in India, HBO’s popular Sunday night show Last Week Tonight […]
  • Feb 27, 2020
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    While the number of new coronavirus cases are falling in China, Xi says the situation remains “grim and complex.” What’s worse, there are new hotspots emerging internationally. Manoj Kewalramani and Shambhavi Naik discuss all this and more in this weekly update. Follow Manoj Kewalramani on Twitter @theChinaDude Follow Shambhavi Naik on Twitter @TheNaikMic
  • Feb 26, 2020
    The concept of nuclear deterrence sounds easy on paper. It was succinctly described by Dr. Strangelove, anti-hero of the 1964 Hollywood dark-comedy film Dr. Strangelove as, “..deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy… the fear to attack.” The premise of deterrence is based on the fact that the destruction caused […]
  • Feb 26, 2020
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    As gene-editing technology advances, the social contexts within which it will unfold need to be understood and integrated into policy planning. Shambhavi Naik and Anirudh Kanisetti discuss the dark history of eugenics, its recent resurgence, and what India needs to do to ensure gene editing is used responsibly. Follow Shambhavi Naik on twitter: @TheNaikMic Follow Anirudh […]
  • Feb 25, 2020
    The origin, development and consequences of the politics of nationalism in western Europe and the United States has led many in the West, and indeed most of the world, to see nationalism as a bad thing. It is not surprising therefore that an RSS functionary in the United Kingdom advised its chief Mohan Bhagwat (in […]
  • Feb 25, 2020
    This article was first published in Deccan Chronicle. Earlier last week, The Verge ran a story about how health apps had permissions to change their terms of service without the user’s knowledge. If you are a former alcoholic who tracks how many days it has been since your last cigarette or a depressed professional who is […]
  • Feb 25, 2020
    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European Union countries to discuss the possibility of giving France’s nuclear forces a broader role in European security. Is this a feasible idea? What is Macron’s game plan? Aditya Ramanathan, Nischitha Suresh and Pranav RS try to unpack Macron’s motivations and whether they make any sense for Europe. Follow Aditya […]
  • Feb 24, 2020
    This article was first published in Deccan Chronicle. If you try to keep up to date with the tech policy debates in India, intermediary liability is one of those few topics you cannot escape. In very oversimplified terms, the debate here is whether companies like Facebook should be held accountable for the content that is […]
  • Feb 24, 2020
    I. The Big Story: CMC Decrees and Measures Tightening Security: China has tightened the confidentiality rules for overseas cooperation and arms fairs as the PLA steps up exchanges with foreign counterparts. President Xi Jinping signed a decree last week to improve confidentiality for important military events, exchanges and arms fairs abroad. Increased confidentiality was a part of revised […]
  • Feb 24, 2020
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    Even as India receives US President Donald Trump with fanfare it remains committed to a multipolar world order. But is such an order really conducive to India’s rise? Manoj Kewalramani, Anirudh Kanisetti and Aditya Ramanathan consider the question and a lively debate ensues. Follow Aditya on Twitter: @adityascripts Follow Anirudh on Twitter: @AKanisetti Follow Manoj Kewalramani on […]
  • Feb 23, 2020
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    Boots on the ground are secondary; India’s key objective in Afghanistan should be to help the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan claim a monopoly over the legitimate use of physical force. India can contribute a lot towards capacity building of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). The biggest challenges it currently faces are related to […]
  • Feb 21, 2020
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    A new speech by Xi Jinping shows that the Chinese leadership was aware of the outbreak well before strict measures were taken. Is this an admission of systemic failure or signalling of strength? Manoj Kewalramani and Shambhavi Naik take stock of all the developments related to the outbreak. Follow Manoj Kewalramani on Twitter @theChinaDude Follow Shambhavi […]
  • Feb 21, 2020
    Genome Edited Organisms: Regulatory Framework and Guidelines for Risk Assessment The Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM) has released draft guidelines on genome edited organisms: regulatory framework for risk assessment. Public consultation is open till Sunday 23rd February, 2020. The guidelines categorise genetically edited organisms (plants, animals and humans) based on extent of genetic change, extent of […]
  • Feb 21, 2020
    The focus on the country’s middle class ignores the problems of the millions in the informal sector. In 2001, Jim O’Neill, a British economist working with Goldman Sachs, first coined the acronym BRIC to identify the four rapidly growing economies at the heart of the shift in the global economic power – Brazil, Russia, India […]
  • Feb 19, 2020
    The Print’s daily roundtable TalkPoint posed a question connected to the US President’s upcoming India visit: Will the spectacle of Trump visit without a trade deal boost India-US ties? The US-India relationship over the last four years has been a case of one step forward, two steps backwards. The convergence on the threat posed by China has led […]
  • Feb 19, 2020
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    The 15th Finance Commission has come out with a slew of recommendations. Which states stand to gain and which ones stand to lose? Anupam Manur and Pranay Kotasthane examine some of the implications of the commission’s interim report. Follow: Anupam on Twitter: @anupammanur Pranay Kotasthane on Twitter: @pranaykotas Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox […]
  • Feb 18, 2020
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    This article was first published in Deccan Chronicle. Last week, multiple news outlets reported that the website housing NRC data had gone offline. Reportedly, this happened because a cloud services contract procured by Wipro on behalf of the State government of Assam was not renewed and thus, turned off due to non-payment. For now, officials […]
  • Feb 18, 2020
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    In this week’s Reading the Economist, Aditya Ramanathan is joined by Anirudh Kanisetti and Suyash Desai to discuss the failure of UN peacemaking, arms sales in the Middle East, and the politics of Ireland, the Phillippines, and Kazakhstan. Follow Aditya on Twitter: @adityascripts Follow Anirudh on Twitter: @AKanisetti Follow Suyash Desai: @Suyash_Desai
  • Feb 18, 2020
    If Westlessness is to mean the shifting of the global balance of power away from the victors of a world war fought 75 years ago, then yes, it is both objectively true and, from India’s perspective, quite desirable. The composition of the United Nations Security Council is not only outdated but is the single biggest […]
  • Feb 17, 2020
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    Is China now playing nice after years of assertiveness? Does India’s policy of “evasive balancing” make any sense? Manoj Kewalramani and Suyash Desai join Aditya Ramanathan to debate new ideas about the politics of the Indo-Pacific.
  • Feb 14, 2020
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    As the coronavirus continues to take a lethal toll across the world, Manoj Kewalramani and Shambhavi Naik take stock of recent developments and try to make a better sense of China’s response. Follow: Manoj Kewalramani @theChinaDude Shambhavi Naik @TheNaikMic
  • Feb 14, 2020
    Eye on China is a weekly bulletin offering news and analysis related to the Middle Kingdom from an Indian interests perspective.  I. Coronavirus Update There have been a bunch of developments related to the coronavirus outbreak in China. Like last week, I’ll try and compile some of the key aspects of the story, beginning with […]
  • Feb 13, 2020
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    After hundreds of years of caste endogamy, one would think that Indian society would be far more open to intercaste marriages than it actually is. Shambhavi Naik and Sarthak Pradhan unpack the science and political economy of intercaste marriage with Anirudh Kanisetti, busting myths, discussing history, and pointing out the very real ramifications for public […]
  • Feb 12, 2020
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    Facebook recently stated that a doctored video of U.S. congresswoman Nancy Pelosi did not violate community guidelines. So what constitutes fake news? And what are the big social media companies doing about it? Anirudh Kanisetti talks to Prateek Waghre and Rohan Seth about today’s information disorder. Follow Prateek on Twitter: @prateekwaghre Follow Anirudh on Twitter: @AKanisetti Follow […]
  • Feb 11, 2020
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    We propose a model to operationalise lateral induction in the Indian armed forces to tackle the burden of growing pensions. Read the full article in The Print here.
  • Feb 11, 2020
    Unless in the most exceptional cases, children’s involvement in politics is supported, encouraged, managed or instigated by the adults in their family. There is a long history of children waving flags, dressing up as political leaders, holding ideological banners or singing songs in support of political causes. Our reaction to these images depends on our […]
  • Feb 11, 2020
    Nuclear weapons are in vogue once again. They make headlines every few weeks, if not every other day. Indeed, Russia’s fancy new weapons do echo the days of the Cold War, when the US and Soviet Union raced build a panoply of weapon-systems suited for just about any enemy target. With the slow demise of […]
  • Feb 11, 2020
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    In this week’s Reading the Economist, Aditya Ramanathan, Anirudh Kanisetti, and Sarthak Pradhan explore everything from the consequences of the Atlantic Slave Trade to Britain’s nuclear deterrent, the economic costs of the Wuhan coronavirus, and the challenge of financial inclusion in India. Follow Aditya on Twitter: @adityascripts Follow Anirudh on Twitter: @AKanisetti Follow Sarthak on Twitter: @PSarthak19 […]
  • Feb 10, 2020
    This article was originally published in Deccan Herald. The term ‘fake news’ – popularised by a certain world leader – is today used as a catch-all term for any situation in which there is a perceived or genuine falsification of facts irrespective of the intent. But the term itself lacks the nuance to differentiate between […]
  • Feb 10, 2020
    As we begin our journey into the third decade of the 21st century, the Doomsday Clock strikes 100 seconds to midnight, the closest in history, thus telling us that we are ever closer to the brink of annihilation than ever before. The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic design created by the Bulletin of the Atomic […]
  • Feb 10, 2020
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    Nearly six months after the internet shutdown in J&K, the Union government’s decision to partially lift the shutdown has been riddled with controversy. Why is this judgement so controversial? In this special episode, Rohan Seth first talks to Apar Gupta, the director of Indian Freedom Foundation, and Prateek Waghre about the Anuradha Bhasin case judgement […]
  • Feb 10, 2020
    Google has recently announced a $1 million grant to help fight misinformation in India. This could not have come at a better time. Misinformation has is a reality and bi-product of the Indian and global information age. It could be Kiran Bedi on Twitter claiming that the sun chants Om or WhatsApp forwards saying that […]
  • Feb 8, 2020
    India bans export of PPE As the coronavirus outbreak spreads across the world and reaches our shores, India banned the exports of PPE on 31st January. The actual utility of the N95 mask is disputed, but it does act as a barrier to droplets. Droplets may act as reservoirs for the virus. India is a net importer of […]
  • Feb 8, 2020
    Bengaluru: As India becomes more globalised, there are intense deliberations in orthodox families on the merits of getting married within their own community. The obvious go-to-market strategy is to ask for family recommendations and visit websites tailored for the community. This is typically followed by patrika and gotra matching, and some family meetings. But as our scientific understanding of diseases […]
  • Feb 7, 2020
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    The Takshashila Institution hosted a roundtable on 24 January 2020 to discuss policy solutions to some of the unique issues in platform marketplaces. Finding the balance between mitigating the harm caused by platforms while ensuring that these businesses continue to provide an enormous amount of social surplus is of paramount importance. This Blue Paper collates […]
  • Feb 7, 2020
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    The coronavirus continues to spread across China and beyond. The WHO has declared a global health emergency, and governments across the world are rushing to contain it. But it’s a challenge that the world is well-equipped to tackle. Anirudh Kanisetti, Manoj Kewalramani and Shambhavi Naik take stock of recent developments and unpack the myths about […]
  • Feb 6, 2020
    The coronavirus outbreak originating in China has made its way across the globe, with nearly 12,000 confirmed cases. There are three confirmed cases in India as of 5 February 2020. There is considerable panic as countries race to contain its spread through screening and quarantine measures. Companies and universities have pressed into action; trying to figure out […]
  • Feb 6, 2020
    Data is a complex, dynamic issue. We often like to make large buckets where we want to classify it. The Personal Data Protection Bill does this by making five broad categories, personal data, personal sensitive data, critical personal data, non-personal data, and anonymised data. While it is nice to have these classifications that help us […]
  • Feb 6, 2020
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    India’s Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat announced that the armed forces would transition to theatre commands in the next three years. Why does India need theatre commands and what should they look like? Lt General Prakash Menon joins Aditya Ramanathan and Suyash Desai to talk about the difficulties and opportunities ahead as India […]
  • Feb 5, 2020
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    Union Budgets are an annual ritual marked by pageantry and breathless commentary. But how important are they? In this episode, Anupam Manur and Pranay Kotasthane discuss how the budget really impacts the economy and our daily lives. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google Podcasts Spotify or any other podcast app.
  • Feb 4, 2020
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    The Wuhan coronavirus, or nCoV-2019, is likely to become a pandemic in the coming weeks, having already infected at least 17,000 and killed some 400. The World Health Organization has belatedly declared a public health emergency, while at least 45 million Chinese citizens remain under lockdown. Despite botching up the initial response in Wuhan, authorities in China have since been fast […]
  • Feb 4, 2020
    There is something a little puzzling about the international response to the Wuhan novel coronavirus – nCoV-2019 – outbreak: the actions taken by the United States, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and other countries exceed what the World Health Organization has recommended. Is the WHO underplaying the risks of a global epidemic or are these […]
  • Feb 4, 2020
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    How big a threat is a nuclear terrorism? How did the AQ Khan network really work? And is arms control dead? In this special episode, Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice at the Harvard Kennedy School, joins Aditya Ramanathan and Pranav RS to discuss the challenges of our nuclear age. Subscribe and listen to the podcast […]
  • Feb 3, 2020
    This article original appeared in Deccan Chronicle. In the lead up to the 2020 Budget, the industry looked forward to two major announcements with respect to cyber security. First, the allocation of a specific ‘cyber security budget’ to protect the country’s critical infrastructure and support skill development. In 2019, even Rear Admiral Mohit Gupta (head […]
  • Feb 3, 2020
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    China’s has an ambitious plan to use artificial intelligence to transform its armed forces. But how would such changes affect nuclear stability? Lora Saalman, a leading expert on the subject joins Manoj Kewalramani, Pranav RS and Aditya Ramanathan to discuss the emerging challenges from Asia’s AI arms race. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: […]
  • Jan 31, 2020
    Eye on China is a weekly bulletin offering news and analysis related to the Middle Kingdom from an Indian interests perspective.  I. The Coronavirus Outbreak Cases & Fatalities: The campaign to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus remains the big story across Chinese media. Here are the official numbers put out by the Chinese side: – 9,692 […]
  • Jan 31, 2020
    The debate and protests around the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens have dominated headlines around the nation, and rightfully so. While public attention and the news cycle continue to revolve around the issue, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has released a Personal Data Protection Bill. Since reading the […]
  • Jan 31, 2020
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    Medieval India is far more complicated than we give it credit for – it’s full of wily merchants, pragmatic rulers, and complex interactions. Anirudh Kanisetti and Aditya Ramanathan dive into 13th century Gujarat, discussing a fascinating inscription from Somnath and what it might tell us about how Hindus and Muslims saw each other at the […]
  • Jan 30, 2020
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    Takshashila’s policy proposal, ‘The New Space Policy 2020’ proposes a clear governance structure that paves the way for the growth of the nascent private space sector in India. The proposal seeks to decouple the policy, regulatory and service delivery roles of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Utkarsh Narain joins Pranay Kotasthane and Pranav RS […]
  • Jan 29, 2020
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    Tech researchers Rohini Lakshané and Prateek Waghre join Anirudh Kanisetti to discuss the whitelist of 301 sites that have been made accessible in Jammu & Kashmir. Their analysis highlights major issues with the practicalities of Internet bans – and points to worrisome implications for the future of Internet access in India. Subscribe and listen to […]
  • Jan 28, 2020
    Download the proposal in PDF. Executive Summary The New Space Policy 2020 proposes a clear policy and regulatory structure that paves the way for growth of the nascent private space sector in India, thus contributing towards national development and advancing the frontiers of science and technology. Specifically, this paper recommends: Decoupling the policy, regulatory, and […]
  • Jan 28, 2020
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    This post was originally published on Medianama By Rohini Lakshané and Prateek Waghre The Supreme Court gave a judgement on January 10, 2020 directing the Central government to review the total suspension of Internet services in Jammu and Kashmir imposed since August 5, 2019 and to restore essential services. In response, the government of Jammu […]
  • Jan 28, 2020
    The outbreak of the novel coronavirus infection emanating from the wildlife and seafood markets in China’s Wuhan city reminds me of the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, epidemic that hit the world 17 years ago. I lived in Singapore at that time, and it was a traumatic experience. The SARS virus, like the Wuhan […]
  • Jan 28, 2020
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    West Asia is notorious today for its geopolitical instability – but has that always been the case? What do the premodern states of the region tell us about today’s shifting dynamics? Aditya Ramanathan, Anirudh Kanisetti and Manoj Kewalramani trace out its long-term geopolitics. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google Podcasts Spotify […]
  • Jan 28, 2020
    I. The Big Story: CMC’s Outlines to Strengthen Primary-level Units China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) released a set of outlines to strengthen the military at the primary level. The outlines, approved by President Xi Jinping, will take effect from February 1. The newly revised outlines adhere to Xi’s thought of ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.’ CMC issued […]
  • Jan 27, 2020
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    The Wuhan virus is already spreading across the world and taking a deadly toll. But what is the virus anyway and how does it spread? In this episode, Rohan Seth talks to Manoj Kewalramani and Shambhavi Naik to put these developments in context and talk about their implications. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: […]
  • Jan 25, 2020
    Amid CEO Jeff Bezos’s visit to India, Amazon’s India website displayed a full-page letter highlighting how Amazon was committed to its small and medium scale business partners. Bezos also announced that Amazon will invest an “incremental US $ 1 billion to digitise micro and small businesses in cities, towns and villages across India, helping them […]
  • Jan 25, 2020
    Eye on China is a weekly bulletin offering news and analysis related to the Middle Kingdom from an Indian interests perspective. This week we cover Beijing’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, new developments in CPEC, Indian reactions to Xi’s Myanmar visit and much more…  I. CPEC & FATF: Xi Jinping is scheduled to travel to […]
  • Jan 24, 2020
    National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2020 India has an estimated 70-96 million people suffering from rare diseases. A draft national policy on rare diseases  has been released for public comments by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Comments can be emailed to kumar.pranav@nic.in by 15/02/2020. You can find the detailed policy here. Salient observations in […]
  • Jan 24, 2020
    Research institutions around the world on an average have 28.4 percent women employees. Indian research institutions have been unable to make even this poor benchmark. Women make up only 14 percent of 2.8 lakh scientists, engineers and technologists in research and development institutions in India. In the past few decades, while the number of women enrolled in science higher […]
  • Jan 24, 2020
    Indian media coverage of China often tends to be dominated by issues like national security and border frictions. There’s little original reportage around social issues, attitudes towards technology and women’s rights. In this episode Manoj Kewalramani speaks to journalist Sowmiya Ashok about her experiences of reporting on China’s dramatically changing society. Subscribe and listen to […]
  • Jan 23, 2020
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    What kind of products should a state-run PSU produce? Do PSUs make a profit? In this episode, Anupam Manur, Pranay Kotasthane and Sarthak Pradhan talk about the persistent role of state PSUs in India’s economy and what can be done about them. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google Podcasts Spotify or […]
  • Jan 22, 2020
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    India’s position on the Huawei question should be closer to that of the US and Japan (a ban from 5G critical infrastructure) rather than that of Kenya or the Netherlands (a conditional yes to Huawei). That’s because China is, after all, India’s adversary and its biggest strategic challenge. Given this situation, handing over critical communications […]
  • Jan 22, 2020
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    What power does the government have over your data? How should India approach global data sharing agreements? With the Joint Parliamentary Committee due to give its recommendations on the Data Protection Bill before the Budget Session, Prateek and Rohan sit down with Aditi Agrawal from Medianama to discuss the latest version of the bill. Subscribe […]
  • Jan 21, 2020
    Even if we ignore the fact that the Indian economy is in a severe slowdown, we should not forget even for a moment that India’s per capita GDP is around $2000, it needs to create around 2 crore jobs every year, and needs every little point of economic growth that it can get. So, in […]
  • Jan 21, 2020
    The department of telecom (DoT) initiated the process for deploying 5G in the country on December 31, 2019 by calling for trial proposals. As a part of the process, telecom operators (Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Jio etc.) were supposed to team up with 5G equipment vendors (Nokia, Samsung, Ericsson, Huawei etc.) and submit their trial proposals. […]
  • Jan 21, 2020
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    Though people on average live longer today, there remain serious threats to global health. But do we know what these are? In this episode Anirudh Kanisetti talks to Shambhavi Naik to get her insights into a World Health Organization report on ten major risks to global health. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes […]
  • Jan 20, 2020
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    With the rise of China and the slow decline of the international system, how should countries think about the balance of power? In this special episode, Aditya Ramanathan and Manoj Kewalramani talk to Professor TV Paul from McGill University about soft balancing, the rise of China and its implications for India. Subscribe and listen to […]
  • Jan 19, 2020
    Despite the fanfare, the phase 1 agreement that the US and China signed last week does not represent a truce in the ongoing trade “war”. It is not even a temporary ceasefire, as tariffs mostly remain in place and there is no indication how or when they will be lifted. The deal is at best […]
  • Jan 19, 2020
    I. Hotline, Kashmir & Trade Let’s begin with Northern Army Commander Lt. General Ranbir Singh’s five-day visit to China. Beijing, Chengdu, Urumqi and Shanghai. The army says that “during the talks with the Chinese military officials, the delegation discussed a host of issues including border area management, improved bilateral military ties and defence cooperation activities.” The one big […]
  • Jan 17, 2020
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    What is the role of news media in India today and how do we assess its health? In this episode, Manoj Kewalramani and Suyash Desai sit down with veteran journalist and Rajya Sabha member Kumar Ketkar to discuss media governance, censorship, and alternate models of funding good journalism. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: […]
  • Jan 17, 2020
    I. The Big Story: Sino-Pakistan’s Sea Guardian-2020 Earlier this week, China and Pakistan completed their sixth naval exercise, titled Sea-Guardians-2020 in the northern Arabian Sea. A naval task group from China’s Western Theatre Command participated in the exercise. The Chinese fleet included destroyers, frigates, supply ships, submarine rescue boats, two carrier helicopters, and more than 60 marines. […]
  • Jan 16, 2020
    The US and China have finally signed the long-anticipated Phase 1 trade deal. Ahead of the deal, the US removed China from a list of countries considered currency manipulators. The final agreement has now been made public. It’s a 96-page document that comprises 8 chapters and annexes. The agreement comes into force within 30 days from Jan. 15, 2020, […]
  • Jan 16, 2020
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    Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen won a second four-year term in an historic election on January 11. Suyash Desai and Manoj Kewalramani join Anirudh Kanisetti to discuss the impact of Tsai’s re-election on the China-Taiwan relationship and its implications for the security dynamic in East Asia. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google […]
  • Jan 15, 2020
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    Should the government be allowed to know whom you’re texting? Should it be able to pressure social media companies to silence voices? With the IT Act due to be amended this month with rules on intermediary liability, Rohan and Utkarsh sit down with Torsha Sarkar from the Centre of Internet and Society to discuss implications. […]
  • Jan 14, 2020
    Let’s first parse what Ambedkar had warned against in his final speech to the Constituent Assembly in November 1949: “We must…hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means that we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and […]
  • Jan 14, 2020
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    Do countries really need a grand strategy? Can volunteers transform journalism? And what’s up with the curious phenomenon of ‘flight shaming’? In this episode, Sarthak Pradhan, Nischitha Suresh and Pranav R. Satyanath join Aditya Ramanathan for a lively discussion on the latest issues of Foreign Policy magazine. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes […]
  • Jan 13, 2020
    The Bill, in its current form, more or less tries to hand the government a blank cheque when it comes to accessing citizens’ data. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) is set to brief the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Data Protection Bill on January 14. As MEITY itself has drafted the Bill, […]
  • Jan 13, 2020
    States around the world are divided along the lines of how they should view the internet. On one end of the spectrum, there are calls to treat the internet somewhat as a fundamental right. For instance, the UN subscribes to this view and is publicly advocating for internet freedom and protection of rights online. On […]
  • Jan 13, 2020
    There are some keynotes in the tech world that serve as highlights of the year. There is Apple’s iPhone event and WWDC where Apple traditionally deals with software developments. Then there is Google’s IO, and also the Mobile World Congress. Virtually all of these are guaranteed to make news. Earlier last year, it was an […]
  • Jan 13, 2020
    Cross-strait ties are likely to get far more frosty, with serious implications for the security dynamic in East Asia, after Tsai Ing-wen’s victory in Taiwan’s presidential election. In many ways, Saturday’s was a historic election. Nearly 75 percent of the 19.31 million eligible voters cast their ballot, with Tsai bagging over 57 percent of the […]
  • Jan 13, 2020
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    The Narendra Modi-led government launched a ‘missed call campaign’ on January 3, 2019 asking people to give a missed call at a number to register their support for the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Home Minister Amit Shah has claimed that 52,72,000 missed calls have been received from verifiable phone numbers. What has been happening in […]
  • Jan 13, 2020
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    A high profile confrontation at sea between China and Indonesia comes even as countries in the region try to come up with a common code of conduct. Manoj Kewalramani and Suyash Desai join Aditya Ramanathan to discuss what 2020 holds for the South China Sea. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google […]
  • Jan 10, 2020
    Advertising and Claims Regulations, FSSAI  Earlier this week, the Maharashtra FDA seized food products worth INR 69 lakhs in lieu of misleading claims made by the manufacturers. In raids carried out at cold storages located at various places, FDA officers had found issues with three products. These are Nutralite Fat Spread of Zydus Wellness Pvt. […]
  • Jan 10, 2020
    Eye on China is a weekly bulletin offering news and analysis related to the Middle Kingdom from an Indian interests perspective. This week Xi Jinping concludes the “staying true to our founding mission” campaign; party committees in enterprises get more teeth; tensions escalate in the South China Sea; India’s Northern Army Commander visits China and […]
  • Jan 10, 2020
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    What books did people at Takshashila read in 2019? What is the significance of these books? In this episode, Manoj Kewalramani, Nitin Pai and Rohan Seth list their favourite books from last year, and talk about how each book has influenced their thinking. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google Podcasts Spotify […]
  • Jan 10, 2020
    I. The Big Story: PLA and Tibet The PLA has begun its major military exercises in the high-altitude Tibetan plateau bordering India. The Type 15 light battle tanks and the new type 155-MM howitzers are used for the exercises, a report claims. Another report claims that the Tibet military command has deployed helicopters, armoured vehicles, heavy artillery and anti-aircraft missiles across the […]
  • Jan 9, 2020
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    A strange revolution, a catastrophic invasion, a dramatic terrorist attack, and an economic transformation. Few years in modern history have been as consequential as 1979. Four decades on, Mano Kewalramani joins Aditya Ramanathan and Sankalp Gurjar to discuss how 1979 shaped our world. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google Podcasts Spotify […]
  • Jan 8, 2020
    Download the Strategic Assessment in PDF Executive Summary Chinese President Xi Jinping has termed the “reunification” of Taiwan with the PRC as “a historic task” that is vital to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. For the Communist Party of China, this is a core interest, underscored by the One-China Principle, that goes to the […]
  • Jan 8, 2020
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    The killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds expeditionary force, is a pivotal moment in the history of modern West Asia. Aditya Ramanathan and Manoj Kewalramani join Anirudh Kanisetti to understand the man’s career, his influence on Iran’s foreign policy, and how his death will impact the geopolitics of the region. We […]
  • Jan 7, 2020
    Faiz? Faiz who? What has he got to do with improving the grade point average, landing a job at Google, securing funding for a startup or getting full scholarship for grad school at a top US university? Since no professor, interviewer or grad school selection committee member cares much about Faiz (even in the off […]
  • Jan 7, 2020
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    Anirudh Kanisetti and Utkarsh Narain join Aditya Ramanathan to discuss the most interesting stories of the week: China and the US are undergoing a divorce in hi-tech industries, Brazil’s Bolsanaro might have some upsides, and Australia is experiencing wildfires that could accelerate climate change. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google Podcasts […]
  • Jan 6, 2020
    After Russia tested RuNet, what are the chances that India will try its hand at NayaBharatNet? In the final weeks of the last year, there were reports that Russia successfully tested RuNet, its ‘domestic internet’ that would be cut-off from the global internet. Specifics of the exercise are not known – whether for example it […]
  • Jan 6, 2020
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    Four years after its inception, China’s Strategic Support Force (SSF), which is responsible for cyber, space and electronic warfare, has become central to the PLA’s military capabilities. How has the SSF developed and how does it compare against its foreign counterparts? Manoj Kewalramani talks to Pranav RS and Suyash Desai to find out. Subscribe and […]
  • Jan 5, 2020
    The Modi government has perhaps calculated that its majority in Parliament, its dominance of public discourse, its control of the law-enforcement machinery, and the popularity of its agenda among large sections of the people will allow it to prevail over the protesting citizens. After all, how long can disparate, politically unorganized groups of students, young […]
  • Jan 4, 2020
    India has carried out a major structural reform of its defence services with the appointment of Gen Bipin Rawat as the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff. The move finally implements recommendations made following the Kargil War aimed at strengthening national security but which had failed to find political consensus. The CDS’s job will be […]
  • Jan 3, 2020
    You may think that winning the streaming race depends on having the best content, but things have already begun to change. As of now, the company with the better bundle will win, and that’s why it makes sense for Disney to buy Spotify this year. To read the full article, visit OZY. Rohan is a […]
  • Jan 3, 2020
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    How does someone who wants to influence policy actually do so outside of government? How does a policy career help transform the country, and for that matter, how do you get into the policy space anyway? Anirudh Kanisetti talks to Apurva Kumar, Shibani Mehta and Sowmya Nandan about their journeys to find out.. Subscribe and […]
  • Jan 3, 2020
    I. The Big Story: PLA’s Hong Kong Warnings The PLA’s Hong Kong garrison held joint air and sea drills in the city’s harbour last week. The drills are seen as its latest attempt to warn anti-government protesters who are protesting since June 2019. Warships and speedboats joined armed helicopters, infantry, special troops and other combat forces from the […]
  • Jan 2, 2020
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    V. K. Krishna Menon is probably India’s most famous defence minister – especially for his role in the 1962 Sino-Indian War. But it turns out there’s a lot more to him than just that. From his role in the Freedom Struggle to his remarkable career as India’s Ambassador to the UN, Jairam Ramesh takes Anirudh […]
  • Dec 31, 2019
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    First it was payments and now it’s healthcare. Big Tech in the US and China is revolutionizing the health sector, with hundreds of billions of dollars of market share at stake. There are multiple factors that are driving this movement. For starters, there’s the simple need to find new avenues for growth for both American […]
  • Dec 31, 2019
    Apart from deciding on end-to-end encryption for chats, the amended IT Rules will also decide on what content belongs on the internet. Should Facebook be liable for the content you post? Should Apple build a backdoor to allow access to iPhones? Should the government know who you are texting and should it have access to […]
  • Dec 31, 2019
    People’s Liberation Army Strategic Support Force contingent made its debut appearance at China’s military day parade, earlier this year. Formed on this day in 2015, it is mandated to create synergies between China’s space, cyber and electronic warfare. The PLA considers these three domains critical for “commanding strategic heights.” The SSF was formed to optimise China’s dominance in […]
  • Dec 28, 2019
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    What do dolphins, artificial intelligence, and brain-machine interfaces have to tell us about the future of war? Manoj Kewalramani, Anirudh Kanisetti, and Aditya Ramanathan debate and criticise the ideas presented in the latest issue of MIT Technology Review. Manoj Kewalramani – @theChinaDude Anirudh Kanisetti – @AKanisetti Aditya Ramanathan – @adityar22 Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes […]
  • Dec 27, 2019
    Research Ethics  With the recent slew of articles being retracted by Indian authors amid accusations of scientific fraud and plagiarism, it is no surprise that governmental agencies are keen to make some changes. After DBT’s statement on research misconduct, it is now the UGC’s turn to take steps to tackle these issues. In a circular […]
  • Dec 27, 2019
    The Big Story: PLA in 2019 The year 2019 has been an interesting year for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. It started with President’s Xi Jinping’s speech demanding the PLA to be battle-ready and ending with China commissioning its second aircraft carrier, the Shandong. Many interesting things have happened in the past 12 months. Let’s do […]
  • Dec 26, 2019
    By Sarthak Pradhan India has one of the lowest drug prices in the world, yet many Indians are deprived of life-saving drugs. Price controls haven’t been enough to bridge this gap. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority last week raised the ceiling price of 21 essential drugs by 50 per cent to offset the rise in cost of ingredients imported […]
  • Dec 25, 2019
    The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by PM Narendra Modi formally approved the post of Chief of Defence Staff Tuesday, and in the process, carried out a long-pending and major defence reform by creating an additional Department of Military Affairs in the Ministry of Defence and the post of Permanent Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (PC-COSC). While the intention of creating the post […]
  • Dec 25, 2019
    M. Taylor Fravel, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 2019, 396 pp., US $35.00 (hardcover), ISBN 9780691152134 “Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy since 1949.” Strategic Analysis, ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print), pp. 1–2 Read here…
  • Dec 24, 2019
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    The Union government is asking for inputs on a cybersecurity strategy for a new India. Takshashila’s Tech Team, Prateek Waghre, Utkarsh Narain, and Rohan Seth talk about the shortcomings of the 2013 national cybersecurity policy and debate on what the upcoming 2020 policy should have. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google […]
  • Dec 24, 2019
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    How did India’s foreign policy hold up in 2019? From the ASAT test to Howdy Modi, Manoj Kewalramani, Pranay Kotasthane, Sankalp Gurjar and Suyash Desai discuss and debate the hits and misses in Indian foreign policy this year. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google Podcasts Spotify or any other podcast app.
  • Dec 23, 2019
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    Earlier this year, it was discovered that India was the target of two cyberattacks in the same month. The malware attacks at the Kundankulam Nuclear Power Plant and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) are believed to be the outcomes of phishing attempts on employees. In 2018, it was reported that an officer of the Indian Air […]
  • Dec 23, 2019
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    What did 2019 mean for the Indian tech space? Rohan Seth talks to Utkarsh Narain and Prateek Waghre about how the debate has progressed in policy circles around data protection, facial recognition, social media, misinformation and other things tech. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google Podcasts Spotify or any other podcast […]
  • Dec 23, 2019
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    What did 2019 mean for the Indian tech space? Rohan Seth talks to Utkarsh Narain and Prateek Waghre about how the debate has progressed in policy circles around data protection, facial recognition, social media, misinformation and other things tech. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google Podcasts Spotify or any other podcast […]
  • Dec 20, 2019
    I. The Big Story: China’s Second Aircraft Carrier China commissioned its first home-built aircraft carrier last week. The new warship, which was previously known as the Type 001A, will now be called the Shandong. President Xi Jinping attended the commissioning ceremony of the vessel. The vessel set out for its first sea-trials in May 2018 and was expected to be […]
  • Dec 20, 2019
    Eye on China is a weekly bulletin offering news and analysis related to the Middle Kingdom from an Indian interests perspective. This week we cover Chinese ambassador to India’s PTI interview; Beijing’s view of protests in India; Wang Yi’s foreign policy assessment & Europe visit; China inducts a new aircraft carrier; and much more. I. India-China […]
  • Dec 20, 2019
    Take a look at these numbers – 3, 5, 6, 14, 31, 79, 134, 91. These are the numbers of documented instances of internet shutdowns in India between 2012 and 2019. The 2019 number will certainly rise during the final weeks of the year as anger against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the Bharatiya Janata Party rises. And yet, […]
  • Dec 19, 2019
    Democratic governments must be accountable to the public and provide a rationale for disrupting Internet services in a timely manner. In the interest of transparency, all governments should document the reasons, time, alternatives considered, decision-making authorities and the rules under which the shutdowns were imposed and release the documents for public scrutiny. This is the […]
  • Dec 19, 2019
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    What happens when Amazon enters or leaves an Indian city? In this episode, Manoj Kewalramani talks to Anupam Manur and Rohan Seth about how Amazon’s new fulfillment centres impact everything from local employment to public health Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google Podcasts Spotify or any other podcast app.
  • Dec 19, 2019
    Values in Foreign Policy: Investing Ideals and Interests Edited by: Krishnan Srinivasan, James Mayall, Sanjay Pulipaka Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Pages: 269 What better time to discuss a subject when everyone seems to be ruing the absence of it. From that angle alone, this anthology “Values in Foreign Policy: Investigating Ideals and Interests” deserves attention […]
  • Dec 18, 2019
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    What does the Personal Data Protection Bill say about linking Aadhar to social media? What exactly will the proposed Data Protection Authority even do? Prateek Waghre and Utkarsh Narain discuss with Rohan Seth. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google Podcasts Spotify or any other podcast app.
  • Dec 18, 2019
    Bill demands age verification and consent from guardians of children for data processing Shashi Tharoor has a strong case when he says that the personal data protection Bill should have come to the information technology standing committee. It does set a precedent when issues as important as the bill do not go through proper channels […]
  • Dec 17, 2019
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    What role do institutions of the state play in shaping government policy, and how do these institutions affect policy when in peril? In this edition of Reading the Economist, Anirudh Kanisetti, Pranav RS and Sarthak Pradhan discuss this with examples from Asia, Africa and Europe. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google […]
  • Dec 16, 2019
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    China’s fertility rate is down to just 1.6. The workforce is shrinking while the population of the elderly grows. At the same time, the now abandoned one-child policy has resulted in a skewed sex ratio. Given all this, could demography be a rising China’s Achilles Heel? Manoj Kewalramani, Suyash Desai join Pranay Kotasthane to discuss […]
  • Dec 14, 2019
    Policy Alert Recently some of the policies covered in previous Compound Eye issues have moved forward. Here is an update on some of the policies: Gene Therapy Guidelines The National Guidelines for Gene Therapy Product Development and Clinical Trials were released by ICMR in the last week of November. The guidelines cover all gene therapy products – defined […]
  • Dec 14, 2019
    You read a brochure that promises to tell you what diseases you are likely to get in the next decade. Obviously you want to lead a longer, healthier life. So you send a cheek swab to the clinic and await test results. Thankfully, your reports are largely all-clear except a minor mutation which would likely […]
  • Dec 13, 2019
    The Print’s daily roundtable TalkPoint posed a question connected to the foreign policy implications of the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the National Register of Indian Citizens: CAB, NRC, Kashmir: Is Modi govt damaging India’s diplomatic standing for domestic politics?  ‘Neighbourhood first’ was supposed to be the guiding principle of Modi government’s foreign policy. But all three measures — […]
  • Dec 13, 2019
    Eye on China is a weekly bulletin offering news and analysis related to the Middle Kingdom from an Indian interests perspective. This week we cover developments related to the Quad, China’s economic policy, tech sector developments, Wang Yi’s trip to Myanmar, the Sino-US deal and much more. I. 2+2 = Quad In September this year, […]
  • Dec 13, 2019
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    Getting to space has never been as easy as it is today, but this has also opened the doors for a new space race. In this episode, Aditya Ramanathan and Pranay Kotasthane talk to Pranav RS about our new paper on space power and space warfare, and discuss the new opportunities offered by space. Subscribe […]
  • Dec 12, 2019
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    Contrary to popular belief, Pakistan’s military-jihadi complex (MJC) has not been brought to its knees by Balakot, Uri, or even FATF. India’s actions in Kashmir, for example, have provided the MJC with the perfect excuse to interfere as it does best. The reason for its current quiet is internal political turmoil connected to COAS Bajwa. […]
  • Dec 12, 2019
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    The rapid expansion of digital penetration in India brings with it the need to strengthen cybersecurity. The critical nature of the myriad cyber threats that India faces was underscored by the recent breach at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant and the Indian Space Research Organisation. These were just two of the 1,852 cyber-attacks that are […]
  • Dec 12, 2019
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    The term “cyber warfare” has come into vogue in recent times, but nobody seems to know what it actually is. In this episode, Anirudh Kanisetti sits down with Prateek Waghre, Pranav RS and Shibani Mehta to talk about cyberwarfare and what countries are doing to deal with new threats in cyberspace. Subscribe and listen to […]
  • Dec 11, 2019
    Download the paper in PDF Executive Summary The modern space age is characterised by low cost access to space. One consequence of this development is increased competition in the military sphere. This review paper examines the current literature on space power and space warfare to explain why technology in both the civilian and military domain […]
  • Dec 11, 2019
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    After last week’s annual summit, cracks seem to be appearing in NATO over Russia, Turkey, and even the USA. Is this anti-Soviet alliance finally on its last legs, 70 years after it was formed? Anirudh Kanisetti and Sankalp Gurjar discuss with Manoj Kewalramani. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google Podcasts Spotify […]
  • Dec 11, 2019
    Nityananda’s Kailaasa, located off the coast of Ecuador, has its own flag, recognised a set of official languages and even set up a department for homeland security and defence. To all appearances, it seems like a legitimate country and may inspire more to establish their own. But creating a new country is not as easy […]
  • Dec 10, 2019
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    In this week’s Reading the Economist, Apurva Kumar and Suyash Desai join Anirudh Kanisetti to discuss global inequality and how bad policies are holding us back from tackling climate change. Subscribe and listen to the podcast on: iTunes Castbox Google Podcasts Spotify or any other podcast app.
  • Dec 9, 2019
    Data Protection Authority can potentially deal with brokers and the negative externality Indian tech policy is shifting from formative to decisive. Arguably the biggest increment in this shift comes this week as the Personal Data Protection Bill will (hopefully) be debated and passed by the parliament. The bill itself has gone through public (and private) […]
  • Dec 9, 2019
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    Anirudh Kanisetti and Suyash Desai join Manoj Kewalramani to further unpack our report to India’s Parliament on China’s rise. This is part 2 of 2, exploring how China has impacted India’s economy and geopolitics – and what India needs to do about it. Read the full report here: An Indian Approach to Navigate China’s Rise […]
  • Dec 7, 2019
    While the Indian Space Research Organisation is doing a commendable job, the participation of private space companies from India, at the global stage is still very limited. India must adopt an enabling policy framework and incorporate independent & fair institutional design mechanisms to promote NewSpace startups in the country. Establishment of independent space regulatory authority, […]